Meet yahkohtêwin: the Governance Planning Committee for the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation.
Yahkohtêwin was created to work as a team to ensure that a constitution is created for the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation.
Chief & Council agreed that elders would participate in a Governance Planning committee struck to oversee the Governance process agreed upon at the Jackfish Lodge Governance Planning session in August, 2014.
Guide our community toward reasserting our nationhood.
We will work together to strengthen and share our traditional knowledge, values, beliefs, and customs; we will nurture our identity by teaching our people ‘sisip sakahikan iyiniwak‘ – our way.
- To work together, help, and support each other to realize our mission and vision;
- Engage and communicate with community, elders, youth, and leadership;
- Create a foundation for our laws and enable “nêhiyaw paminisowin” (Indigenous governance);
- Create and support opportunities for people to share and teach traditional knowledge and teachings.
- Councillor Leighanne Gardipy-Bill (Chair);
- Councillor Kevin Seesequasis (Member);
- Councillor Jeremy Seeseequasis (Member);
- Elder Angus Esperance (Member);
- Elder Suzanne Seeseequasis (Member);
- Elder Betsy Gamble (Member);
- Elder Wilson Charlie Sutherland Sr.
The term of ê-nîkânohtahisoyahk shall expire January 1, 2017.
Chief & Council ratified the terms of reference for the Governance Planning Committee at a duly convened Council meeting on January 20, 2015.
The Operations and Maintenance (O&M) portion of AANDC funding for Public Works & Housing is based on a formula that was created in 1992, was capped in 1996, and hasn’t seen an increase in funding since 1986.
Here’s how I understand this formula works: AANDC takes an R.M./town approximately the same size as our First Nation (same number of buildings, homes, population, machinery, infrastructure and employees). Based on these numbers they calculate how much that R.M./town should receive in funding and/or taxes collected, to operate efficiently – whatever that amount is, we as a Band receive 20% of that total to put towards our operations and maintenance; this means we have to come up with 80% of operational dollars on our own.
Example: if it is calculated that it will cost $100,000/yr. to operate a Water Treatment Plant then we receive $20,000 of funding; this means that we are already starting with an $80,000 deficit.
It has always been an expectation of AANDC that this shortfall should come from the membership in the form of a ‘user fee’. It is my understanding that not so long ago an agreement to implement this fee was passed at a Band Meeting; unfortunately nothing has been done to ensure that this ‘fee for service’ was fully implemented.
Naturally, because we are a close knit community this is a touchy subject to discuss, but still needs to be addressed and implemented if we are to come out of this deficit that is being created partially by our own inaction.
As mentioned in the newsletter, we receive $1,016,770/yr. but in order for us to operate effectively we should be working with at the very least 2 times this amount.
Think of it, if we were to re-implement the $100 User Fee to each and every household, Public Works would have an approximate $400,000 a year extra to assist with all of the issues that our community faces in regards to building and road maintenance, purchasing new, or repairing existing machinery, hiring another f/t maintenance person, build a home, there are many things we could do…
We hope to have another information meeting in March to discuss this, and the CMHC program to follow up on the December 2nd meeting.
C. Roy Petit, Councillor i/c Public Works & Housing
Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation